MASH and “Predicting the Future”

January 4, 2011 at 7:55 am | Posted in Career Moves, Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Relationship Woes | 13 Comments
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photo credit: http://karenhart.me

Middle school flashback.  Your body is changing and you look seriously awkward trying to fit into it.  You are figuring out which clique would accept you.  And the prepubescent boys are looking super cute.  Your world is as big as your classroom.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes class can be boring.  I was never very good at doodling.  My art even back then was writing.  So what do you do to pass the time?  Dream about the future!  This is where a fabulous game called MASH came into play.

Mansion, apartment, shack, house.  These were just some of the “choices” you’d have to make when you grow up.  Where will you live?  Other features of the game — pick 5 of each: boys you like, cars you like, colors (of bridal dress), cities, number of children you will have, and let’s no forget careers.  You create a swirl in the middle of the page, count the lines and use that number to complete the process of elimination, ex-ing out an item each time your number comes up.  At the end of the day, you end up marrying Bobby, living in a mansion, driving a red Ferrari, living in Paris, with 4 kids, and working as a lawyer.  Sounds about right, no?

Oh, how small the world was back then!  I remember literally thinking who would I marry from my middle school. MY MIDDLE SCHOOL?  How does this idea get into people’s heads?  Ok, to be fair, I actually know about a dozen people who did end up with someone they knew in middle school.  Call it small world mentality, or comfort zone, I don’t know.  I stopped dating people from my high school in like 9th grade. But something tells me when these people think back to middle school and have this same thought that I did, the person they are with now didn’t make the list.

If only our decisions could be as simple as we thought they’d be.  But what if Bobby doesn’t want to marry me?  What if we can’t afford a mansion? (HA!)  And what if, God forbid, I don’t get that Ferrari.  What ever will I do?

The saving grace of this game, in retrospect, is that it does include a category for career (in the version of the game that I played).  At least we had the idea of working for a living instilled in our minds.  But what about college?  I can tell you that I was a weirdo and I actually did think about college in middle school, thanks to my dad always saying it was the best time of his life, the movie Animal House, and my first boyfriend whose older sisters were already in college.  My Bat-Mitzvah theme was colleges and telephones (yea, figure that one out).  Perhaps if college was added to this game middle schoolers would have seen that there is a world between high school and this dream life MASH creates.  Perhaps kids would see that while there are endless possibilities, there are also realistic possibilities.  That the world is much larger than a classroom, but can also feel smaller than a locker at times.

But it was a different world back then.  The tech boom was just starting.  I remember when my friend Ilana first got AOL. We’d all gather around her computer, wait for the dial up, and stare in awe at the big box computer as it said “You’ve got mail,” in that familiar computer voice we all know.  By 8th grade we were all instant messaging, staying up to all hours having conversations with boys that were too hard to have in person.  We were just beginning to discover the greater world, but yet it all seemed like a fantasy.

So maybe that’s all that MASH is or was.  Maybe it was a just a form of fantasy.  Maybe we never thought it was ever going to be reality.  But maybe we did.  I don’t believe in destiny, but I do believe in fate, and I believe in dreams.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I still plan to dream of endless possibilities.

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